The Best of the Edinburgh Fringe

Norwich Arts Centre

Norwich Arts Centre

The Edinburgh Festival is in August. This was the best of it, apparently.

But after seven months you could be forgiven for wondering whether the material might not be a bit limp.

Seemingly not, however.

Russell Howard caught us up on a wave of enthusiasm.

The Bristol boy brought us a barrage of surreal gags, featuring everything from monks longing for soda stream to geese running amok at the word 'boo'. His love of his city's characters and dialect almost made me homesick for a place I'd never been.

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Rob Deering is an old friend to Norwich, having played the Crypt for the Fringe back in 2003. He makes that five years, I make it four. But actually, it's three, isn't it? Still, if anybody in the arts could add up, they wouldn't be there in the first place, would they?

Rob is the only performer I have ever seen improvising stand-up with a guitar, and I was glad to see that this was still the act. It's clever stuff. He lulls you into thinking you're at some kind of slightly sophisticated karaoke event and then stuns you with a bit of political satire.

This comic impresses me in other ways also, for instance, he's not only fearless in the face of a bad joke eg: 'I got the Next catalogue, I haven't read the last one', but he actually sets it to music.

Like it says in the programme 'unstoppable comedy!'

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